Pilipinas: Government of the Future

Proposed new Senate building

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For the Philippines, the government of the future requires both small and big changes.

Small because except for the matter of who represents the country and its people, all operations of government will remain the same.

Big because people will now decide on how to plan for their future, to direct public policy action, and to address social issues. Instead of reliance on representatives, people are now directly responsible for all that happens to them.

The government of the future does not need people representing the people. This means elective positions in government are out. Elections are also out.

Taking the place of elected officials that comprise the executive branches of government is the People’s Secretariat (PS), which can consist of as little as 11 coordinators (one for each sector, including local government units [LGUs] and the armed forces) and 11 database administrator/ webmasters. The PS will have administrative control over all departments and instrumentalities of government.

Taking the place of elected officials that constitute the legislative branches of governmenet are the people themselves who, through direct action system (DAS) and with the use of digital technology and the internet, are able to resolve any legislative issue in 2 to 3 hours at any given time.

Resolving judicial cases will be carried out by a jury, with judges merely facilitating judicial processes–nothing more. As in the legislative structure where the people take direct action, the same people will constitute the jury, rendering decisions in 3 to 5 days following a court proceeding that everybody can access through live streaming.

What will remain largely unchanged is the existing civil service system, except that it will now cover the police and the entire armed forces. The tenurial security accorded to each public servant shall be subject to review in every 5 years.

The civil service system will be accountable to the People’s Secretariat. The People’s Secretariat shall be accountable to the people through direct action.

What’s wrong with the Government of the Present?

Depending on our experiences with the government, it is possible to say there is nothing wrong with the government without being dishonest. It is also possible to say government stinks, meaning it serves its purpose by benefiting the rich at the expense of the poor, again without being dishonest.

Just the same, Inkdrops submits that the Philippine government has failed its purpose. The way it works needs to be changed.

How did we get to this point?

Maybe there is no need to recall the history of government (or how the notion of a State became universally accepted) where Philippine experience is concerned. Instead, I suggest that we look at the point where we adopted most of our government systems today. This refers to the time the United States of America had control over Philippines affairs (starting in the late 1890s until the time as recent as yesterday), with lasting legacy on the way we conduct government affairs.

The American system of government evolved from an idea where, initially, one’s safety, and allegiance, depended upon their physical strength and intelligence. In order to change this condition, people agreed upon a contract (the constitution) to ensure the safety and well-being of all. This gave rise to popular sovereignty, limited government, individual rights. Students of political history call this the Social Contract theory.

The Philippine Constitution (both old and new) is largely a copy of the US Constitution. A basic feature of this contract pertains to how people are elected to represent the sovereign, which is another way of describing the citizens, taken as a composite whole, of a country.

In early years, one can imagine the difficulty by which elected representives get themselves to attend functions (such as meetings) from their respective districts to capital cities where seats of government are usually located. In America, politicians most likely hopped onto horse-drawn carriages, later on locomotives, to bring themselves to Washington DC. It was therefore wise for people elect to their representatives who were better off, as access to transport systems was a luxury that not all, especially those who live in remote towns, could afford.

One will not find it hard to imagine how this worked in the early days of Philippine electoral politics as well. From the viewpoint of the poor, why would he vote for one who even had no means to move around the province, much less help his fellow poor whose need for all kinds of help were common place?

When I was young, it took us at least three days to reach Manila from my hometown in Eastern Samar. Even without the not-so-mythical Gold, Goons and Guns, I would, por pabor, vote for a congressman who could reach Manila in less time (because the rich had cars and could travel by air). I would not wish my representative coming in for sessions late, would I?

The poor, then, who are many, have made the rise of local lords easier. Soon political dynasties took their tenacious roots, whose vines almost had the exclusive birthright to seats of power in government.

But that was then. Something happened on the way to the present.

The rich still stand out in many ways, but where representing constituents is concerned, this function can no longer be an exclusive domain for those who have material means. The probinsyano can reach Manila in similar fashion that dapper-dressed guys do it.

In fact there is no need for Manila to hold congressional sessions. A congressional session can be done in private rooms of each registered voter.

If Facebook and Youtube, for example, can host live events for millions of viewers and chatters, there is no reason why government cannot operate and maintain servers with capacity to host congressional sessions for 50 million participants, each of whom can have access to air their views and cast their votes, all, as they say, in real time.

If international events like beauty pageants can collect votes from global viewers in a matter of minutes, there is no reason why Filipinos cannot decide–on their own–with bills like the death penalty, divorce and BBL, among other pending legislation–in less time than it normally takes Congress to pass a law.

So by all means, yes, they can. They can also save lots of money on those high-maintenance but low-quality AI gadgets called congressmen.

To be continued …

Succeeding installments of this post shall discuss the following.

  • Fundamental dysfunctions of government
    • How the representative form of government scams the people
    • Politics is power and the people are out of it
    • Politics get in the way of government serving the people
  • Why democracy is inferior to dictatorships
  • Why dictatorships grow devils in every detail
  • Why direct participation trumps both dictatorship and democracy
  • How the people’s DAS works
  • How technology reshapes the political terrain
    • How people nominate and confirm executives of the national government and the judiciary through digital media
    • How people initiate and pass legislation and resolve judicial disputes through live streaming and digitally-encrypted voting
    • How people determine wrongdoing by people in government against individuals, and by individuals against the State
    • How people can sanction State agents who violate the Bill of Rights under the Constitution

The government of the future can be achieved within 7 generations. There is even a farther-looking agenda: How the Philippines can rise above the US and China in Eleven Generations.

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Author: GlobalPinoy

GlobalPinoy is a team of kibitzers led by Ingming Aberia. This team is trained in working with communities, and has a mix of academic backgrounds--sociology, economics, public administration, project management, etc. You can read more about the chief kibitzer here.

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